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It’s December 2006 at the Sound Kitchen recording studio, just south of Nashville. Today, Josh Turner is recording his vocal on a new song, “The Longer the Waiting,” (written by Roger Cook and Pat McLaughlin) a wistful ballad that he’s been holding on to for several years. He didn’t think it was quite right for either of his first two albums—but it should fit right in on his third.
The vocal booth is dark except a tiny light illuminating a lyric sheet. Josh’s face can’t be seen through the glass in the control room, but when that unmistakable baritone rumbles through the speakers, there’s no doubt who’s singing.
Josh takes a pass at the lyric—a tale about a sailor leaving his love—as producer Frank Rogers and engineer Richard Barrow man the mixing board. “That was purty,” says Frank over the intercom as Josh finishes the take. “But you’re overthinking it.”
Josh, dressed in a Duke Blue Devils shirt, jeans and tennis shoes, emerges from the studio and settles into a chair behind the board. He takes a quick phone call (his ringtone: John Anderson’s 1992 hit “Seminole Wind”), then it’s back to work. This time, the magic happens. “He’s back!” declares Frank.
Josh backs up and fixes a few rough spots, and even nails a tricky whistling part. “Very nice,” Frank says after the music falls silent. “You’re one of the best whistlers I’ve ever recorded.”
“There should be a Grammy category for that,” chuckles Josh.
By the end of the day, the vocal is complete—and you can hear the result on Josh’s new album, Everything Is Fine. “I feel like I was born to sing,” Josh says later, “so when I get in there and it’s just me and a dark studio and the song, I feel like I’m fulfilling my purpose.”